Teeth-whitening is safe when it is done correctly and as advised by our professionals. However, patients who overuse whitening procedures suffer from a disorder called bleachorexia. Bleachorexia is a medical term used to describe people who attempt to whiten their teeth too often. Symptoms of bleachorexia include overuse of over-the-counter whitening kits and using multiple whitening treatments at once. Bleachorexia can have long-lasting and severe repercussions on the patient's oral health.
Damage Caused by Bleachorexia
Excessive DIY whitening of the teeth will erode the teeth's enamel and dentin. Ironically, the loss of enamel will make the patient's teeth less white due to the color of the dentin. When the teeth's enamel is gone or mostly gone, the affected teeth could take on either a translucent or a blue-gray hue. The teeth will become more sensitive as roots and other vulnerable parts of the tooth are exposed. Excessive whitening can also irritate the gums to the point of causing bleeding, and this level of gum damage can play a factor into developing gum disease.
Healthy Ways to Promote a Bright Smile
Limiting consumption of staining foods like coffee and blueberries will reduce the number of stains on a patient's teeth. Using straws when drinking staining beverages will allow the patient to bypass the teeth. Smoking can cause yellow stains on the teeth, so patients who seek bright smiles should quit smoking. Biannual cleanings can remove stains and are a healthier alternative to multiple whitening treatments. Some non-abrasive types of whitening toothpaste can help to remove stains from teeth. Veneers are a cosmetic dental solution that essentially cover an aesthetically-challenged tooth.
If you have questions about teeth whitening, or if you want a more effective whitening treatment than an over-the-counter kit can provide, call our office for a consultation and a diagnostic exam.